Most of the time, we experience nature at eye-level. But on this autumn day, walking in the glacial hills of McHenry County, during my first year as a doctoral student, I made time for exploration and new perspectives. I got down on the ground and pointed my lens toward the forest canopy that surrounded me- a mouse-eye view of the landscape. Later, I looked at the same trees from satellite images- the forest as seen from space. One place, two perspectives; by shifting scales, I try to understand the complex relationships of climate change that connect local sites to global impacts.
This image, taken from the forest floor, mirrors the satellite images that I use in my research to analyze the role of nature in absorbing greenhouse gases, correcting our damage to the atmosphere. The circular field of view of this photo mimics the astronaut’s view of earth, rising in the blackness of space. In this photograph, the forest is a world unto itself; beautiful, without regard for its capacity to solve problems created outside its borders.